Rogo’s May Training Goals (and April Results)

Training area
Dec. 15, 2009
April 1, 2010
April 30, 2010
Goal, May 31, 2010
Contact 0 3 4 6
Bending 0 345
Working trot0 67 8
Canter 022/35
Circles1/2 2/3 45
Free walk34 / 55/66/7
Straight on C.L.0235
Precise transitions0245

This is my teacher Cheryl Cassista’s goal setting system. I started with her in Dec. when my previous teacher Joan Stoddard-Rhyno needed to take time off for personal reasons. I’ve been so lucky with my teachers. It seems fate brought both of them to me and they’re great. It isn’t easy finding classical dressage instruction in the rural areas of Nova Scotia :) I’m going to do a page about them.

Back to the goals – she (Cheryl) started me more generally, i.e. working trot, bending in corners, and as we progressed she switched to this system. I find it very useful. It helps me when I get anxious – I can see that we’re making steady progress. Also it makes it more fun and interesting.
My personal goals for May? Stop tensing my lower back (and creating back pain) and lose 5 lbs.!

Note: The reason Rogo's Dec. scores were so low is that we had been completely off work for 3 months. He wasn't ridden or longed from the end of Aug. until the beginning of Dec. due to him having bruised toes (started cantering him on the longe before I realized he needed shoes to do this; we've since added two more loads of sand as well), then I had a nerve issue in my back / neck that left me pretty much immobilized for two months). When I started him back it was like starting from the beginning again. It wasn't like an older, more trained horse who you would just have to work with on conditioning and sharpening aids again. I hadn't expected this (I thought maybe two weeks to get him back where he was - duh). He reverted to stopping and refusing to move when you asked for the trot, refusing to steer at the trot, not really doing more than jog when he did trot (that was new, he liked to go forward more before)...
We hadn't cantered under saddle before the lay off and we first did that between Christmas and New Year - yeah! It was sooo exhilarating and fun. Then as we worked on it I have to admit I was scared for awhile, but persevered. Sometimes Cheryl would have to stand like she was longing and encourage him with the longe whip. She has very good judgment  about how much to push him and it always worked out fine, but there were times my heart was in my throat!